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At a recent speaking engagement a member of the audience asked me what was the most significant change I had observed in the 40 years I have closely followed American politics. I answered that it would take an hour to do justice to his question and left it unanswered, but have been thinking about it since and the essay below is partly designed as an answer to this question. When I first set foot in the United States as an immigrant in January 1969, I knew English and was a big fan of American literature, but knew little of American politics, except that I imagined it to be strongly anti-communist, which is why I chose to emigrate to America to begin with. And it couldn’t be any other